crush

Elena Su

Brookline, MA

Brookline High School

Poetry

all I have ever wanted is to

be clean as the lemon-suffused snap of morning,

but cruising in his car, broken windows, the dirty oily smudges of streetlamps,

the dashboard’s blinking warning, the claustrophobic insides of my pupils:

everything throbs, painfully, with this unsettling

feeling I can’t think about; it’s the thrill of mass and inertia—of

going so fast my skin peels into ribbons, dissolving into heat: the pure

here & now, higher than a kite and twice as light, my heart expanding

into the delicate arched cavity of my ribs; every single time, my

junk heap of unwired neurons (axons & nuclei by the bloody handful)

keeps firing, struggling to reel in a thought—failing—and

lilac with opportunity, the world chokes on its own happiness;

my mind grasps for capital-G God, the Virgin at her altar, the memory of my knees growing

numb in the pew, my tongue heavy with their sins; and eventually the

open jaw of the sky snaps shut, and I am shivering with cold, the ice in my veins awful and

precise; and the last gentle corner of my soul

quietly stirs alive, my humanity uncoiling and

rippling awake in the fragmented aftermath; to be brutally honest, the rare nights I fall asleep sober,

sometimes I dream of swallowing the moon whole and sometimes I dream of healing; on

that day, the devil will offer a needle, and I will tear him apart to reveal the gap-toothed gears

underneath; in my mind the sky blisters as he bleeds––

vultures descend in droves, black and slick as oil, and I

wade in thigh-deep, watch the waves swell red, baptize myself with a new name, and all the doctor’s

x-rays will show a heart, beating and stitched whole and finally mine—but until then—it’s an inevitable

yes, yes, how much, and in that crush of an instant I am always

zero

again.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

The author mixes striking imagery and raw emotion effortlessly, and combines religious references and scientific terminology in a way that defies the laws of Heaven and physics.

Elena Su is a senior and a member of the Class of 2021 at Brookline High School in Brookline, MA. She enjoys writing, mathematics, and reporting. She eats too much sugar but takes her coffee black.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR